Post details: Understanding Hinges


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Understanding Hinges

Hinge Styles Depend on Cabinet Design

Adding new hardware and hinges is the secret to a spectacular kitchen update. The style of hinge you choose, however, is dependent upon the type and style of your cabinets. To fit your exact needs, Rockler has a large number of styles from which to choose. In this article we’ll discuss the options and differences so that you can become "hinge wise," and add a dazzling new touch to your cabinetry design.

Step 1: Are your cabinets Face Frame or Frameless?

Cabinet DesignThe style of hinge you choose will be largely determined by how your cabinets are made. First determine if your cabinet has a face frame or is frameless.



Step 2: Determine the overlay of your doors:

For Face Frame Cabinets:

Most traditional cabinetry will require face frame mounted hinges for doors that overlay their face frames. Overlay is the relationship of your cabinet doors to the cabinet faces. The amount of overlay will determine the type of hinge you will need. There are three kinds of face frame overlay:

Frame Cabinets- Overlay - If your doors completely overlay face frames (lie on top of the cabinet faces), and there is no rabbet on their back edge, you will need an overlay hinge.


Frame Cabinets- 3/8" Inset Hinge - If your doors partially overlay their face frames and have a rabbet cut along their back edges, you need a 3/8" inset hinge.


Frame Cabinets- Full Inset Hinge - If your door fronts are flush with their face frames and are inset within the frames, you will need a full inset hinge.



For Frameless Cabinets:

On European style cabinets, hinges are attached directly to the side of the cabinet. The amount of overlay (how far your doors overlap the cabinet sides) will determine the type of hinge you will need. European cabinets have three kinds of overlay:

- Full Overlay - If your doors completely overlay your cabinet sides (lie completely on top of the cabinet side edges), you will need a frameless overlay hinge.
- Half Overlay - If your doors partially overlay the side edges of your cabinets (usually about half way), you will need a frameless half overlay hinge.
- Full Inset - Frameless cabinets with door fronts that are flush with the side edges of cabinet faces and are fully inset within the side edges will require frameless inset hinges.

Other Styles and Functions

Rockler has a large selection of additional hinge types available including:

Flipper Door Systems (For sliding, hiding doors)

Clip on Hinges (For wider opening doors)

Cross Corner Hinges (For doors closing at a 45-degree angle)

Fully Concealed Hinges (For doors concealing pull-out shelving)
Surface Mount Hinges

Wraparound Hinges (No mortise for Euro-style applications)

and many more...

How Many Hinges Per Door?

The number of hinges you require will be contingent upon the height and weight of your doors. Use this chart to determine how many hinges you will need. For instance, a 43" high door weighing 14 lbs would require 3 hinges.

Installing Your Hinges

Accuracy is crucial to the successful installation of hinges and to assure proper door alignment. Rockler recommends using the appropriate installation jig or the guide of your choice. See our line of installation Jig-It's, and self-centering drill bits for more information.

Tools you'll need for this project


Free catalog

Free catalog


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